The age of the foldable device is well underway. Samsung has a fully mature line up including the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Flip, while Huawei and other Android OEMs are also on board. Of course, Microsoft has the folding twin-screens of the Surface Duo. However, Apple has so far been absent from the party… but that may be changing.
Reports suggest Apple is finally working on bringing a foldable iPhone to the market. However, in a unique twist, the device will reportedly use E-Ink displays.
Analyst and tech industry watcher Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is working on Electronic Paper Display (EPD) technology for iPad tablets. However, the company is also considering using the technology on a foldable smartphone.
Kuo says EPD “has the potential to become a mainstream solution for foldable devices,” claiming the screen reserves energy better than an LCD or OLED display. While this would clearly mean better power capabilities, there is a reason manufacturers do not use E-Ink.
Apple is testing E Ink's Electronic Paper Display (EPD) for future foldable device's cover screen & tablet-like applications. The color EPD has the potential to become a mainstream solution for foldable devices' must-have cover/second screen thanks to its excellent power-saving.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 17, 2022
Among the drawbacks are less responsive screens, fewer colors, and no touch interaction. This means Apple is likely only going to use the E-Ink screen as the outside of display of its folding iPhone. In other words, the inner displays will remain OLED/LCD.
We will have to wait a long time to find out. Kuo says Apple might not release a foldable iPhone until 2025. By then the company will be playing catchup to the other OEMs. Too far behind the pack? Maybe, but Apple has proven adept at entering mature hardware spaces and dominating them.
Let’s see what happens with foldables.
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